A familiar animated father figure known to television watchers is somewhat famous for his advice to his son who has failed at a particular task. It runs, “Don’t worry boy, it it’s hard, it can’t be worth doing.” I fear that during my lifetime this has been the credo for many within our culture.
During my formal educational years, it was well known at the time, that my generation of students tended to avoid anything that was deemed hard. Science, math, and languages all lost popularity. Do you recall the alarmed reports from various authorities that pointed out that as Americans, we were slipping behind other parts of the world in technical subjects, as students opted for less rigorous coursework? During my baccalaureate years, it was possible to obtain a degree without any college math at all. I also remember postings from the Foreign Service that announced the increasing difficulty recruiting competent linguists for duty stations. “If it’s hard, it can’t be worth doing.”
Encouragingly, I believe this trend is reversing to a degree. (No pun intended) However, there is still a basic human lazy gene to defeat. Over the past few months, I have been introduced to a series of excellent historical novels that have stretched my mind and more than once prompted me to stretch my arm for the dictionary. Repeatedly, period accurate terms cause me to say, “What in the world?” The link here is that when I read the consumer reviews of the series, I was struck by the number of persons who did not like the books because the words were too technical (hard) or archaic. “If it’s hard, it can’t be worth doing.”
I wonder how much in life we miss because this mantra sells us short. It is harder to make homemade biscuits and gravy than to go to a fast food place and have theirs. Nevertheless, do we not all note the tremendous difference?
Further, what are the achievements within your life of which you are proudest? I hazard the guess that they are the ones you reached for with the most diligent effort. Contemporary fitness buffs are familiar with the phrase “No pain, no gain.” Are you making some gains in your life today? “If it’s hard, it may be well worth doing.”